Model of the Week: Ninouk Akkerman has just gone from studying brain cells to walking for Givenchy Haute Couture

Ninouk was shot exclusively for MODELS.com by Daniel Jaramillo, with styling by Lauren Bockow, hair by Yukiko Tajima, and makeup by Julianna Grogan. Thanks to Mo and Sebas.


interview

Name:
Ninouk Akkerman

Agency:
Wilhelmina New York ()
Paparazzi Model Management (Amsterdam)
Ford Models Paris ()
Why Not Model Management (Milan)
Wilhelmina London ()

Age:
23

Height:
177cm (5’9.5″)

Instagram:
@ninoukakkerman

Place of Origin:
Enschede, the Nederlands

Ethnic Origin:
100% Dutch (or 50% Frisian, 50% Dutch,  if you like)

Birthsign:
Aries

How discovered:
I was scouted a couple of times in Amsterdam, but I didn’t give it much thought, as I was really focused on studying. But my friends kept encouraging me to give it a try, and so I contacted Paparazzi and within a few weeks, I had my first shoot!

What was your first modeling job?
It was a shoot for a magazine, and the makeup was quite experimental, so I could barely recognise myself. But it made me realise from the start that every working day was going to be different. And the pictures turned out pretty cool, if I may say so myself.

Favourite things?
I love reading and music. Considering the amount of time I spend traveling and waiting, I don’t think I could do without either of those!

What are you listening to at the moment?
Lately, I listen a lot to Air and Radiohead because I’ve been to their concerts recently and loved it so much! But I’m also a fan of grunge, jazz, funk and classical music.

Favorite movie, tv show:
Phew, hard to pick one… Jackie Brown is a great one :)
I’m also addicted to  Fargo, The Crown, and Blue Planet II.

What were you doing before modeling?
I studied Neuroscience and Cell Biology in university, but after my graduation, I decided to do modelling full time for a while, before continuing with a master’s program. 

What would you be doing if you weren’t modeling?
So if I wasn’t modelling I would now probably be standing in a lab growing cell cultures. I would love to do stem cell research in the future.

What’s something uncool that you love anyway?
I guess lab coats and glasses are not fashion’s favourites, but I’m kind of missing mine. For my graduation project, I spent days in the lab peering through the microscope to study brain cells of schizophrenia patients, and I found it fascinating! Looking at tissue of diseased patients may sound like a strange hobby, but in a way, it was just really… Beautiful. Cells are beautiful.

Favorite modeling experience so far?
The Givenchy Haute Couture show I just did recently: Everything was just so gorgeous and came together so well, the dresses and suits incorporated with elements of the night sky, the fancy setting of the Archives Nationale in Paris, the lovely music… It was out of this world.  

What’s the best thing about your hometown/country?
That there are more bicycles than people. The Dutch are of course known for cycling everywhere, and although we have a long way to go towards a  more sustainable economy, using the bike more often is a good start.

Which brand would you really love to model for?
I’d love to shoot with Tim Walker one day, I love his work! I like theatrical photo and video shoots and am thinking of taking acting lessons.

Place you would love to visit:
New Zealand. I’m a sucker for beautiful countrysides and would love to explore all the Lord of the Rings-like landscapes. Also, it’s about as far from home and (most) work as it gets, so it would be the perfect place to disappear to for a real vacation.

Currently you’re obsessed with/about:
I read some excellent books recently, particularly “How did we get into this mess” by George Monbiot. I haven’t yet got my hands on the sequel “Out of the wreckage”, but I can’t wait to read it. He writes in a very passionate and eloquent way about climate change, capitalism and social and economic power structures. And although the titles may sound a little depressing, he actually proposes a lot of sensible solutions to some of the most pressing problems of our time. With a dash of humour, it makes for a very gripping read. 

Best advice you have ever been given:
Something my Frisian grandmother used to tell me: “As it net kin sa’t it moat, dan moat it mar sa’t it kin.” In English that would be something along the lines of: “If things don’t work out the way they should, then they’ll have to work out the way they can.” I used to (and still tend to) stress out a lot if I couldn’t manage things they way I wanted to – I’m a bit of a perfectionist. But whenever I feel like I’m failing because no matter how hard I try it doesn’t go my way, I hear her words ringing in my ears and they calm me down.

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